Are you ready for summer yet? Yeah, us too. It will start warming up soon, we promise.
While you’re missing the warm temperatures, we’ve got some tips for generating your own heat, along with a great guide on the hot springs of Colorado. Check out our #GetOutThere Guide to Discovering Winter Warmth by brand ambassador Briana (@openheartadventure).
Not all mermaids live with their toes in soft sand beside the salty sea. Some of us thrive in mountains that rise to the sky beside cold, clear alpine lakes. From January until the warmer temperatures of spring arrive, mountain mermaids are chilled to the bone from winter. Living in the mountains my entire life often has me dreaming about warm ocean water and tropical sunshine, although it isn’t always practical to escape to the beach. So when my body and mind need winter warmth, I explore, soak, stretch, breathe, and relax. Here is a guide for staying warm when the beach is just out of reach.
The Mountain Mermaids Guide to Creating and Discovering Winter Warmth
Do Yoga to Heat Up!
Hot yoga, hatha yoga, salted infrared yoga, restorative yoga, vinyasa inspired yoga – – the preference is up to you! One thing is certain, a yoga class will warm you up. As a yoga teacher, I wake up before the sun to practice a gentle morning flow in a warm space. Moving the body with intentional breathing brings warmth to my entire being and allows me to start my day from a grounded place. Some like it hot, and hot yoga classes are sure to heat you up. For me personally, a gentle flow does the trick, is only as strenuous as I shape it to be, and brings warmth to my body through the breath and movement.
Yoga is the simplest way to create warmth in the winter. It also doesn’t hurt that it supports a healthy physique so in the Spring, you feel fit and well. Whether you are most comfortable practicing yoga in the comfort of your home with an online class or in a studio with the warmth of community, the movement and deep breathing is sure to warm your body.
My favorite indulgent yoga class is a salted infra-red practice. While it may not be easy to locate this type of healing space, I highly recommend a visit, near or far, to experience this! At my local studio in Colorado, Fahrenheit, there is a floor to ceiling Himalayan salt crystal wall (reference your bedside salt lamp times times 100) with infrared lighting, and a gentle fan that moves the salt throughout the studio space. It is heavenly. The salt is amazing for respiratory wellness and neutralizing negative ions. Whether taking a gentle flow class or a restorative practice, I leave here feeling like I went on a beach vacation, if only for an hour.
Another special studio is, with bias, the one I teach at: Kula Yoga. It is a simple studio with a balance of natural light and mountain warmth, with a rich color palette. The studio holds space for inspiration, expansiveness, and rest. Most classes flow and all are uniquely different- from gentle early morning sun salutes to midday energizing practices to evening restorative. This is the place where locals come to stretch, warm up, flow, and breathe together.
An ode to amazing yoga studios wouldn’t be complete without including Shree Yoga in Taos. This studio is worth a trip in itself, not to mention nearby hot springs listed below. Old wooden floors with authentic wood beam ceilings and a fireplace in the corner create a space that is beaming with grounded energy. Windows on both sides of the studio let in the abundant southwest sunshine. I’ve yet to experience a yoga practice here that didn’t leave me feeling completely inspired and filled with love. This studio even has a feng shui expert visit regularly to clear out stale energy and revitalize the already radiant space.
For those times when heating up via yoga doesn’t do it for me, I head to the hot springs.
There is no shortage of hot springs in the Western United States. In fact, globally, I’ve had no problem finding natural pools of warm water to soak my tired muscles in. Wherever I travel, I seek them out. Below are a few of my favorites right here in the Rocky Mountains.
Penny Hot Springs (Carbondale, CO): These road side pools are easily accessible yet still offer solace from the ski resort crowds nearby. The shapes, sizes, and temperatures of the handful of riverside pools vary greatly from hour to hour, month to month. Some days the pools are shallow and hot while other days they may be bath water temperature and full. The Crystal River naturally fluctuates which influences instability in the pools, but it is always worth the trip! Check out the #GetOutThere Guide to Penny Hot Springs for more information!
Black Rock Hot Springs (Arroyo Hondo, New Mexico): Two lithium hot springs pools sit beside the Rio Grande River, just a short drive from Shree Yoga. Because of the lithium content, as opposed to sulfur, these pools do not smell. They can be cool in the winter when the river level is high, but my experience has proven that it is worthwhile to explore. A quarter mile hike down an unmarked trail at the bottom of a gorge rewards you with epic views, solitude (at times), and a warm soak in clear water. Volcanic rock nestles these pools on the riverside. Phones will not get service so you can be sure to experience a healthy disconnect with this soak! I recommend a mellow early morning soak to assure a peaceful experience.
Avalanche Ranch Hot Springs and Resort (Redstone, CO): If exploring unmarked trails and searching for steam in valleys of sagebrush isn’t your style of hot springs soaking, there are many developed, resort style pools that are equally relaxing and warming. The benefit to going to a developed pool is that the water temperature is regulated, bath houses are nearby, and some even have lodging on site so you can soak until you fall asleep. Avalanche Ranch is one that I highly recommend. They offer onsite yoga classes and day retreats, have beautiful rustic accommodations, and remain among the least crowded in the area. Each day is capped at a certain number of guests so call ahead. Views of the nearby mountains can be seen from any of the soaking pools. These are perfect for a day or weekend retreat when warming up and relaxing are high priority.
Valley View Hot Springs on the Orient Land Trust (Moffat, CO): This place is a little slice of hot springs heaven situated on the hillside of the San Luis Valley, Colorado. Here you get the best of both worlds- natural pools that you may hike to and developed pools that are easily accessible and temperature regulated. There is also a sauna that has a small dipping pool in the center so you can regulate your body temperature without having to step outside of the cedar planked room. This is hands down one of the best hot springs experience I have had and like Avalanche Ranch, reservations are recommended because they have a daily maximum for guests.
Exploring dirt roads, secret trails, and pools in the wild is one of the absolute best ways to discover winter warmth. I highly recommend exploring your region for the best pools, natural or developed, to warm your body any time of day. Morning soaks wake you up gently while evening soaks are ideal after a day of work or winter activity. And if an outside soak isn’t in your cards, a nice Epsom salt bath at home will warm you up.
Lastly, the uncategorized way to get warm is vapor caves. In Colorado, there are caves that have channels of natural geothermal water to create a sauna like experience in underground caves. This is a special way to breathe warm air, revitalize the body, nourish the skin, and relax in a nurturing space. Think ‘sauna’ gone natural.
#GetOutThere and stay warm!